Failed Sweetener Factory Assets to be Auctioned

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MOBERLY - The mayor of Moberly is urging UMB bank to reconsider its decision to auction off, rather than sell, the left over assets from the failed Mamtek project. After a "substantial marketing process," UMB Bank plans to auction off the company's facility and equipment. According to a notice from UMB, "the Trustee is now prepared to proceed to a liquidation/auction process that involves the sale of the Mamtek Assets, in parts and whole, for the highest price." The bank serves as the trustee for the holders of the bonds originally intended to finance the failed Mamtek sweetener facility.

This comes after both the bank and Moberly officials tried to find another company to purchase Mamtek's assets "as a sucralose or other facility." No company took them up on that offer.

According to the notice, UMB tried for 120 days to find a buyer and made contact with more than 100 groups regarding the sale of Mamtek.

Moberly Mayor Bob Riley said in a news release Thursday that he was "disappointed" in the decision to auction the assets.

"For the City of Moberly, Project Sugar has always been about creating jobs in the Moberly area," said Riley. "That remains our focus today. We have a responsibility to the people of the Moberly area to be aggressive and work hard to find a viable use for this site."

Riley went on to say that more could have been more done to try to sell Mamtek to a company that would take over the site. He specifically mentions a marketing consultant hired by UMB who "appeared to make few, if any, direct personal contacts with any identified prospect, other than by telephone and e-mail."

"The City, MAEDC [Moberly Area Economic Development Corporation], and the Authority [Industrial Development Authority] have shown that viable options for the Project Sugar site exist," said Riley. "But only aggressive efforts by the Trustee and the bondholders, combined with our own efforts, can make this site productive and protect the value of the Project."

According to the notice from UMB, the auction is expected to happen this fall.

Riley said in the release the city is urging the bondholders to reconsider the auction and look again at finding a company to take over all of the assets.

Mamtek defaulted on a payment on the $39 million in bonds Moberly financed. Contruction halted on the facility last August. The company was originally supposed to create 600 jobs as an artificial sweetener manufacturer when Governor Jay Nixon announced the project in 2010.